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Sept. 3, 2006, 6:00 p.m.
CONTACT: Pamela Young

EMU demands union put students first

EMU issues Tuesday 10 p.m. deadline to end illegal strike

YPSILANTI — Eastern Michigan University today is demanding faculty union leadership put students first by discontinuing the illegal strike and making preparations to be in the classroom for the start of classes Wednesday, Sept. 6. In a letter delivered to the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), the Board of Regents and the administration stressed that EMU’s first priority is its obligations to students and their families to provide a quality and affordable education.

“We owe it to our students to open up this University on Wednesday morning for the first day of classes,” said John A. Fallon, president, Eastern Michigan University. “Our students expect their professors to be in the classroom, and not out on an illegal strike.”

Under Michigan law, strikes by public employees are illegal. “We have every hope that the AAUP will terminate the strike and work toward a resolution without further injury to the University and our students,” said Fallon.

The University negotiating team will continue meeting with union leadership until 10 p.m. Tuesday night, the eve prior to the start of the fall semester. However, if the AAUP leadership refuses to end the strike by 10 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 5, the Board of Regents has directed the University Administration to suspend all further negotiations until the strike is terminated. “The University needs to focus all its efforts on fulfilling its obligation to students by ensuring classes start on time,” said Karen Quinlan Valvo, chair, Board of Regents.

“Provided the union leadership puts an end to the illegal strike and instructs faculty to be in the classroom while final details are hammered out, the University is committed to negotiating until an agreement is reached,” said Valvo.

Mediation is scheduled to resume Monday at 5 p.m. EMU and the AAUP bargaining teams had more than 20 bargaining sessions throughout the summer.

The AAUP represents 689 faculty members. Their contract with the University expired at midnight, August 31.

Related: Letter from Regent Valvo and President Fallon to the AAUP (PDF document)

Eastern Michigan University is a public, comprehensive university that offers programs in the arts, sciences and professions. EMU prepares students with the intellectual skills and practical experiences to succeed in their career and lives, and to be better citizens.

Editor's Note: Looking for an expert source for a story? Check out EMU's Eastern Experts online at www.emich.edu/univcomm/easternexperts.

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